Arm wrestlers embrace competitive spirit in Red Deer

Fresh-faced rookies, world champions and national level competitors packed into the Microtel Inn conference room Saturday afternoon for Battle Zone 10.

The field was a collection of individuals vying for arm wrestling supremacy, tangled hand-in-hand trying to gain experience and bragging rights in Red Deer.

One of the new names on the circuit is Donna Purdy, who booked a place in nationals earlier this year after becoming an unlikely champion in her home province of Manitoba.

She made the trip to Red Deer to find some different competition that will help her prepare for the best arm wrestling talent Canada has to offer. She won the open ladies flight right hand on Saturday.

“It was fantastic. I didn’t come to lose. I’ve never pulled these girls before so it was very competitive. A little bit different than Manitoba. But the experience was great and now I know a little bit of my competition going to nationals,” she said.

She was also in Central Alberta participating in an APTN documentary called “Arm Nation.”

The 13-episode show will feature Purdy and a number of other indigenous arm wrestling stars including World Champion Steph Heroux.

Heroux took part in exhibition match at the event, but was there in a teaching role for the other participants.

“It’s beautiful. More people that come in and try this, they are starting to realize what kind of sport it is,” he said. “It’s like a game of chess, you can’t just go in there and throw stuff around and hope for the best. You’ve gotta really study and be behind your moves.”

Heroux beat Dan Marfei 2-0 in a demo pull but Marfei will still compete at nationals later this summer.

While he’s still recovering from an brutal bicep injury, Heroux explained being part of “Arm Nation” and growing the sport means a lot to him.

“It’s awesome, I’m throwing everything at it because I love it. I’m a creator,” he said. “I’m trying to create and help out. Arm Nation is perfect, I can talk to them and tell them what arm wrestling is all about.”

Neil Looker, a local Red Deer arm wrestler who won the men’s 161-195-pound left handed category said he’s been doing it for almost 20 years in different provinces across Canada and just loves the thrill.

“You just fall in love with it. I just have a real desire for it. Now I’ve got my kids involved, so we keep it going,” he said.

He added the local scene has a good group of arm wrestlers and they get together a few times a week to sharpen their skills.

“It’s good camaraderie, everyone is best of friends,” Looker said.

“We get together once or twice a week and practice. It’s like no other sport. Everyone is buddies, we share secrets and technique. It’s competitive at the table, but aside from that everyone is really good friends.”

Other winners included:

Masters open left and right: Maurice Thebeau

Amateur 176-200 pounds left: Colin Shroeder

Amateur 176-200 pounds right: Marc Yunger

Amateur 225-pounds plus left and right: Dan Marfei

Pro Women Open left: Stacy Foster

Pro Woemn Open right: Donna Purdy

Men’s 161-195 right: Jason Tibok

Men’s 225 plus left and right: Vitali Degtiaenko

Youth 6-9 years old left and right: Andrew Miller

Youth 10-13 years old left and right: Mason Droesse

Youth 14-17 years old left and right: Riley Weeks

Just Posted

Campaign renews push to make Bighorn Backcountry a wildland provincial park, ATV groups unhappy

A push to provide provincial protection for the Bighorn Backcountry area has… Continue reading

Flu cases steadily climb in Central Alberta

So far the number of Central Albertans admitted to hospital with the… Continue reading

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Auditor general flags Royal Military College for costs, cadet behaviour

The Royal Military College of Canada has taken another blow to its… Continue reading

After death of 8th child, Ikea relaunches dresser recall in U.S and Canada

NEW YORK — Ikea relaunched a recall of 29 million chests and… Continue reading

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Update: Innisfail girl found

A 15-year-old missing Innisfail girl has been located safe and sound. Police… Continue reading

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month